As expected, Cingular Wireless began offering the Treo 650 today. This is the first time the GSM version of palmOne’s latest smartphone has been available in the United States.
The Treo 650 has a number of improvements over its predecessor, the Treo 600. This includes a better screen, Bluetooth and a swappable battery. It is the first Treo to support EDGE, a wireless networking standard that is significantly faster than regular GSM/GPRS networks.
Cingular is charging $550 for this device without a new contract, or $450 with a new two-year contract.
A variety of data plans are available, including an unlimited plan for $45 per month.
More than Just Cingular
Although Cingular is currently the only GSM carrier offering this device, palmOne is selling an unlocked version on its web site for $600. This can be used with most GSM wireless service providers worldwide by plugging in a SIM card.
Update: palmOne has already raised the price of the unlocked version to $700.
Orders for the Cingular or the unlocked version of the Treo 650 can be placed through the palmOne web site.
An Overview of the Treo 650
The Treo 650 is palmOne’s latest smartphone, and the company’s new flagship model. As a smartphone, this device has been designed to be both a handheld and a mobile phone in one.
Most users agree that viewing web pages on the Treo 650 is much more satisfying than on typical smartphones because it includes a 320-by-320 pixel display, a much higher resolution than most of its competition.
To make writing email and SMS messages easier, this model has a small QWERTY keyboard below the screen.
In addition, the Treo 650 includes Bluetooth wireless networking, so it works with wireless headsets. It still isn’t clear whether palmOne will eventually allow the Treo 650 to use its Wi-Fi SD card; at this point it can not.
This smartphone runs Palm OS Garnet (5.4) on a 312 MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor.
The Treo 650 has only 23 MB of built-in Storage capacity, so the device’s SD card slot is an important feature.
Also, it has an 1,800 mAh swappable battery, which palmOne says is good for up to 6 hours talk time and up to 300 hours standby time.
The Treo 650 is 4.4 inches tall, 2.3 inches wide, and 0.9 inches thick (113 by 59 by 23 mm) and weighs 6.3 ounces (178 grams).
This new model’s built-in camera is capable of taking both still images and video. Maximum resolution is 640 by 480 pixels for photos or 352 by 288 pixels for videos.
The device being offered by Cingular is a GSM/GPRS quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) world phone.
Cutting EDGE Smartphone
As previously mentioned, the Treo 650 supports EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution), which means its average data transfer speed is around 135 kilobits per second (kbps), noticeably faster than regular GSM/GPRS networks.
Cingular’s EDGE network is available in more than 8,500 cities and towns and along 30,000 miles of highways.
More information is available on the palmOne web site.